Napoleon Bonaparte required only one thing from his generals: that they be lucky. On this basis alone, he would be delighted by Nicolas Sarkozy, the leader of France.
Facing a terrible time in the French press and opinion polls, in one bound he is free of the champion of the left, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was an outright favourite to win next year's presidential elections.
Mr Strauss-Kahn's incarceration on the grounds that he attempted to rape a chambermaid in a New York hotel room has unleashed a wave of waffle on an unprecedented scale. Maureen Dowd, the flame-haired reporter whose pieces normally have me chuckling with delight, seems to have reacted like a Roman candle on hearing the story.
"Was the chief of the International Monetary Fund telling other countries to tighten their belts while he was dropping his trousers?" she thundered in The New York Times. And later: "Will they argue that she wilted with desire once she realised Strauss-Kahn had been at Davos?"
Davos Man may have his detractors, indeed the IMF has often been dubbed the "International Misery Fund" but comical and absurd as this may appear, a man is now in jail, and still innocent until proven guilty.
The trial by Twitter has gone around the world, a few other women in Paris have uttered similar accusations, and Mr Strauss-Kahn's reputation is ruined.
But who are we to judge? And why was he denied bail of US$1 million (Dh3.67m)? Is he now a danger to chambermaids everywhere? Where exactly would he flee to?
He was planning to move out of Rikers Island jail and stay with his daughter in New York.
The whole episode leaves a nasty taste in one's mouth. Hardly surprising that he has decided to throw in the towel to concentrate his energies on fighting the case.
George Marshall, the former US secretary of state, would be an otherwise forgotten figure except for the fact that he lent his name to the most successful aid programme in history.
At the end of the Second World War he toured Europe, and horrified by what he saw, came up with a package of measures that would be known as the Marshall Plan. While rejected by the Soviet Union, which pressured its satellites to refuse the cash, more than $13 billion, a colossal sum for the time, had been disbursed by the time it was ended in 1952.
The US succeeded in revitalising Europe, but also helped itself by restoring a major trading partner rather than reducing it to an imperial dependency.
Last night Barack Obama, the US president, was due to announce a series of economic measures that are being dubbed a "Marshall Plan for the Middle East".
Fine words, and an even finer aim, but nothing has had the same impact as the original Marshall Plan. Tony Judt, the historian, suggested that the Marshall Plan helped Europeans "feel better about themselves" and to "break decisively with a legacy of chauvinism, depression and authoritarian solutions". All of those problems exist in the Middle East, but is the US willing and able to help? The sums needed would be tremendous.
Some analysts are suggesting there should be a Middle East Bank of Reconstruction and Development, along the lines of the institution set up after the fall of the Berlin Wall to help rebuild central and eastern Europe.
The original president of its European counterpart was Jacques Attali, a Frenchman with a great reputation. "I don't have a computer," said Francois Mitterrand, the president at the time. "I have Jacques Attali."
Unfortunately for Mr Attali, he was also unlucky.
The rapacious English media exposed the fact that while his bank was dispensing money, it was mainly on private jets for him and marble interiors for his ritzy building in the City of London. He was quickly recalled to Paris, and the scandal was neatly swept under the carpet.
How Mr Strauss-Kahn would like that to happen now.
* Rupert Wright